Summary of “The Record Label of The Future is No Label At All”

The company’s recent focus on empowering artists without intermediaries strained its relationship with the major labels as speculation grows over whether their end game is to become a record label.
The average artist signed to a record label only earns 12% of the money generated by their likeness, presenting a unique opportunity for Spotify to influence an artist’s perception of the necessity of a record label as an intermediary.
To remove artist intermediaries, Spotify needs to be able to offer a full stack solution that empowers artists to go direct to streaming while providing them with the infrastructure that they need to record and produce music.
Record labels can approach this with the glass half full by viewing this additional distribution medium as advantageous when shaping their ever evolving artist marketing strategy.
An artist could use Spotify’s studios to record and mix songs and then distribute using Distrokid on all of the major streaming platforms at once.
The artist could then study the data provided by Spotify for Artists to learn more about their listeners and shape a strategy to acquire “1,000” true fans.
As the artist grows in popularity and begins to get courted by record labels, Spotify could remove the financial pressure that faces most artist when choosing to sign to a record label, the cash advance.
By replacing the advance that record labels tempt artists with they could alleviate the financial distress that plagues many artists at the time of negotiations.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Five Things Spotify Needs to Fix in 2019 – Rolling Stone”

Amid its year-end financial-results announcement, Spotify confirmed that it was set to spend between $400 million and $500 million on acquisitions throughout 2019, including the recent buyouts of podcasting content company Gimlet Media and distribution platform Anchor.
Things are looking up for Daniel Ek and his green machine – but Spotify still faces a few stark challenges.
Spotify CFO Barry McCarthy told investors on February 6th that self-serve advertising, whereby clients upload their own ads and target audiences themselves, is now “Our fastest-growing [ad] channel.” Spotify Ad Studio, the firm’s self-serve platform, is currently available to varying degrees in markets including the U.S., U.K. and Canada, ahead of an expected wider global rollout.
Analysts at MIDiA Research have predicted that 2019 will likely be the year that streaming subscription growth slows in the North America and Europe – meaning that Spotify will really need to up its game in the Middle East and North Africa region, where it launched in November.
In its forecast for 2019 – partly due to that acquisition budget of $400 million-$500 million – Spotify is projecting another annual operating loss of €200 million to €360 million.
Spotify has reportedly just paid more than $200 million to acquire New York-based podcasting production company Gimlet Media, in addition to podcasting distribution house Anchor.
If this wasn’t indication enough that Spotify is banking its future on the spoken word, Ek told investors this month that his company wants more than 20 percent of listening on Spotify dedicated to podcasts, rather than music, in years to come.
So how can Spotify use podcasts to improve its financial numbers as time wears on? Ek was asked this precise question on the Spotify Q4 earnings call.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The California Sunday Magazine”

In a go-time effort to get in front of Omar, Doris pulled an impressive feat of freeway pilotage: She went early to the house show in Commerce, jetted 20 miles to the Roxy in West Hollywood for the Swedish artist’s gig, showed her face, then sped back to Commerce to just barely catch Cuco’s last few songs.
Doris attributes part of this to Omar’s self-incubated musical gifts - she doesn’t need to pay an engineer if Omar’s the one cutting the track with his own tools, and she doesn’t need to pay studio fees if the studio is the garage of his parents’ home.
At the very beginning of their partnership, Doris got Omar into A & R meetings, to be greeted with lukewarm enthusiasm about how to market an indie-pop Latin artist.
In 2017, Omar released a mixtape, Songs4u, and followed it up with his biggest hit to date, “Lo Que Siento.” Doris claims it was his real breakthrough, with a rapid-fire accumulation of seven-digit streams on SoundCloud and seven on Spotify, outplaying his other tracks by a few million clicks.
“The song is a lovebird dedication of warbly guitars and singsong rap verses, where Omar swaps Spanish verses and English bars. Today, one could take sensitive boys in hip-hop for granted, assuming that the SoundCloud wave of underage emo rappers plus Drake would have cleared the way for Cuco. But Omar still gets some flak.”It’s very normal for me to be expressive and emotional because that’s the music I listen to,” he says, listing off the emo bands of his youth, like Being as an Ocean and Capsize.
It’s not just Omar’s dream to be Cuco; it’s lots of folks’ dreams to help make Cuco possible.
Doris talks about how Omar could easily get “Lost in the sauce.”
Her nail art is mauve with square tips and clear rhinestones at the cuticle; in a gothic font, one hand spells “OMAR,” the other “CUCO.” I catch her by craft services, which is a tarped-off table under the covered car park, scattered with empty bottles of soda and whiskey, Trader Joe’s snacks, and languid kids ripping bong hits around a box fan.

The orginal article.

Summary of “A country music artist navigates an art form altered by America’s poisoned politics”

Price’s career – her success and nearly a decade of struggles – is a testament to the way America’s poisonous politics are scrambling country music.
Country music these days is dominated by men, who typically account for about 80 to 90 percent of Billboard’s top 40 country radio hits.
Country music has for decades accommodated different sounds and styles – the Bakersfield Sound, Outlaw Country, Urban Cowboy country and alt-country among others.
Mainstream country music has little patience for messages that fail to celebrate small-town America or tilt even remotely anti-Trump.
Simpson had won a Grammy earlier that same year for best country album like Price, was rejected by mainstream country music radio.
The same pressures that were splitting the country were now fracturing country music.
“Country music is taking collateral damage because so many people these days want blood,” said Kyle Coroneos, who runs the website Saving Country Music.
“Sonically I want to do something different, and I want to reach more people. Country music was a good way to get my foot in the door, but. . . when you venture out of country music you have more freedom to say what you want, and country music radio isn’t doing me any favors.”

The orginal article.

Summary of “Vivendi May Sell Universal, Now a Music Streaming Behemoth”

LISTEN TO ARTICLE. SHARE THIS ARTICLE. When Vivendi SA took over Universal Music Group in 2000, the industry was riding high on bumper sales of CDs, though the investment soon soured as illegal downloads surged.
These days, music fans have largely shifted from illegal downloads to paid streaming platforms such as Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon Prime, and Pandora, which generally charge $5 to $10 a month for unlimited access to millions of songs.
Lisbeth Barron, an adviser on music deals and chief executive officer of investment bank Barron International Group LLC, says Vivendi is seeking a valuation that’s about twice as high per dollar of operating profit as recent industry sales, potentially boosting other companies in a market that’s been heating up lately.
Sony Corp. last year paid $2.3 billion for the 60 percent of EMI Music Publishing that it didn’t already own.
“A deal for Universal would show confidence that the recent boom in music isn’t just a short-term phenomenon,” Barron says.
Its artists had the top five tracks on Spotify and Apple Music last year, and it accounted for 30 percent of global music sales in 2017, vs. 22 percent for Sony Music Entertainment and 16 percent for Warner Music Group, according to industry blog Music & Copyright.
“The best years of the music business are ahead of us, not behind us.” QuickTake: The Streaming Revolution.
BOTTOM LINE – After a decade of plunging sales because of illegal downloads, big music labels have seen revenues climb since 2014-spurring Vivendi to consider selling a stake in music giant Universal.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The New Generation of LA Rap Is Changing Everything”

Rappers like 03 Greedo, Drakeo the Ruler, and Shoreline Mafia have fashioned sleek, antagonistic rap to fit this terrifying, new Los Angeles, a place that is becoming increasingly unlivable for poor and working class people of color.
In the 1980s and 90s, Los Angeles’ trio of rap radio stations-KDAY, The Beat, and Power 106-played local gangster rap for a young, ethnically diverse audience, incubating the careers of artists like Dr. Dre, Eazy-E, DJ Quik, Ice Cube, Warren G, and the aforementioned Suga Free.
As teenagers, the current generation of rappers drew more inspiration from their peers than they did G-funk, the melodic and biting gangster rap subgenre which borrowed musical cues from Parliament-Funkadelic keyboardist Bernie Worrell and Second Amendment stances from Oliver North.
YG, DJ Mustard, and Ty Dolla $ign aren’t significantly older than the new class of Los Angeles rap stars-and, in a select few cases, are actually younger-but because they first experienced stardom in the late aughts they seem, from afar, less like peers than aspirational archetypes.
The new Los Angeles is mean, unforgiving, and tense to the point of white knuckles and burst veins-and so is its rap.
Along with AzSwaye’s “Ride with My Glock,” Mr. Mosely defined new parameters for Los Angeles rap.
While the new generation of Angeleno rap bears only a passing resemblance to that of their G-funk forebearers, the generations’ artistic evolutions are strikingly similar.
Alongside groupmates Rob Vicious and Master Kato, they’re the first of the Talkin’ Shit generation to take the stage in Europe-and probably the only notable L.A. rappers of any generation to be raised in East Hollywood.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Spotify data shows how music preferences change with latitude”

Around that winter solstice, Spotify listeners in the most northerly latitudes of the world dial down the intensity of their music choices, choosing calmer and more relaxing music.
The researchers suggest that the results point to a universal human habit that probably sounds familiar: choosing your music to both match and change your mood.
Cornell PhD student Minsu Park and her colleagues were interested in how mass trends in music choices could illustrate the rhythms of music’s role in people’s emotional lives.
Although Spotify does recommend music to listeners, it reported that in 2016-the year used in the study-more than 80 percent of tracks were users’ personal choices.
Using Spotify-provided data on the music, they tracked a variable they called musical intensity, “Ranging from highly relaxing to highly energetic.”
These results matched up neatly with a previous study tracking emotions in Twitter users’ speech, but it differed on one point: language showed an afternoon slump, but there was no such slump in the music choices.
The data also showed some cultural differences-more energetic music, on average, in Latin America, more relaxing music in Asia-and a gender difference that depended on hemisphere: women listen to less intense music in the Northern Hemisphere and more intense in the Southern Hemisphere.
Near the equator, changes in intensity were much flatter across the whole year, while more northerly and southerly places had larger changes in music preferences.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Music, Feeling, and Transcendence: Nick Cave on AI, Awe, and the Splendor of Our Human Limitations – Brain Pickings”

Her contemporary and admirer Walt Whitman considered music the profoundest expression of nature, while Nietzsche bellowed across the Atlantic that “Without music life would be a mistake.” But something curious and unnerving happens when, in the age of artificial intelligence, mathematics reaches its human-made algorithmic extensions into the realm of music – into the art Aldous Huxley believed grants us singular access to the “Blessedness lying at the heart of things” and philosopher Susanne Langer considered our foremost “Laboratory for feeling and time.” When music becomes a computational enterprise, do we attain more combinatorial truth or incur a grave existential mistake?
If we are feeling sad and want to feel happy we simply listen to our bespoke AI happy song and the job will be done.
It is perfectly conceivable that AI could produce a song as good as Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” for example, and that it ticked all the boxes required to make us feel what a song like that should make us feel – in this case, excited and rebellious, let’s say.
It is also feasible that AI could produce a song that makes us feel these same feelings, but more intensely than any human songwriter could do.
Music has the ability to touch the celestial sphere with the tips of its fingers and the awe and wonder we feel is in the desperate temerity of the reach, not just the outcome.
If an AI were to ever sign a letter to a human being who cherishes its music with “Love, Nick,” would that not be a mere simulacrum of the human experience the word love connotes and of the sense of self with which we imbue our own names? Alan Turing laid the foundation for these perplexities with the central question of his famous Turing test – “Can machines think?” – but it is impossible to consider the implications for music without building upon Turing’s foundation to ask, “Can machines feel?” Cave’s insightful point comes down to the most compelling and as-yet poorly understood aspect of human consciousness – the subjective interiority of experience known as qualia.
It is most closely relayed to another consciousness through the language and poetics of art, which Ursula K. Le Guin well knew is our finest, sharpest “Tool for knowing who we are and what we want.” And if Susan Sontag was right, as I feel she was, in insisting that music is “The most wonderful, the most alive of all the arts,” then music would be the art least susceptible to machine creation.
Complement with German philosopher Josef Pieper on the hidden source of music’s singular power and Regina Spektor’s lovely reading of Mark Strand’s poem “The Everyday Enchantment of Music,” then go listen and feel to some AI-irreplicable Nick Cave.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The End of iTunes”

With the new iTunes Movies and TV Shows app on Samsung Smart TVs, Samsung customers can access their existing iTunes library and browse the iTunes Store to buy or rent from a selection of hundreds of thousands of movies and TV episodes - including the largest selection of 4K HDR movies.
While people certainly know the iTunes brand, I’d argue that it has been a long while since they’ve loved that brand.
Yes, Apple has up until now put their toe dips in streaming video under the Apple Music brand and product.
That is to say, I think this new iTunes announcement finally signals the end of iTunes as we know it.
Stripped out of it will be Apple Music and Apple Video.
Less clear is if the ability to buy music and movies still resides inside of iTunes.
The real wild card is if renting new movies - the one video service Apple currently offers that still makes sense, at least for now - stays in iTunes or goes under Apple Video.
I think Apple will use this opportunity to finally start obsoleting the iTunes product.

The orginal article.

Summary of “These 6 Types of Music Are Known to Dramatically Improve Productivity”

Some types of music seem to help with learning and improve our ability to process information.
These are the six types of music that will give you a major boost in productivity.
Classical music is known for being calming, relaxing and helping reduce stress.
Some research suggests that it’s not the type of music that’s important in helping you stay focused and productive, but the tempo of that music.
If you have ever listened to music that you’re familiar with, only to find yourself deep in thought and not really hearing the music at all, this is an alpha state induced by music.
Studies have found that putting on your favorite type of music can improve your mood and productivity.
Teresa Lesiuk, an assistant professor in the music therapy program at the University of Miami, found that personal choice in music is important when deciding what to listen to while working, especially for those who are moderately skilled at their jobs.
Her research found that participants who listened to music they enjoyed completed their tasks faster and came up with better ideas than those who didn’t because the music helped them feel better and improved their mood.

The orginal article.